7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.
Day 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!
Ready, Set, Go. If you've followed days 1-4 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire. By creating Defensible Space, and taking steps to harden your home and maintain fire resistant landscaping, firefighters have a fighting-chance to save your home when wildfire strikes. Today we'll look at the first stage of preparation to evacuate.
Many Marin residents remember the 1991 "Tunnel Fire" in the Oakland/Berkeley hills like it was yesterday. In the Mill valley hills, many watched this devastating fire, the most destructive wildfire in US history, from their living room windows. 25 people perished in the fire, most of whom were residents who died in their homes or cars - attempting, too late, to evacuate.
Four years later, the 12,000 acre "Vision Fire" struck even closer to home in west Marin, burning 45 homes. No lives were lost, in part due to lessons learned in Oakland.
SET: Prepare to Evacuate
PLAN ESCAPE ROUTES IN ADVANCE AND MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY KNOWS THE PLAN OF ACTION. ASSEMBLE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND BELONGINGS IN A SAFE PLACE. MONITOR NEWS AND INFO ON LOCAL FIRES FROM MEDIA AND PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCIES.
Before wildfire strikes, it is important that you get "Set." Getting set requires preparation before a wildfire strikes, readying yourself and your home for the possibility of having to evacuate ("Go").
Three main preparation actions should be completed when getting "Set." Be sure you and all members of your household are familiar with these items and procedures long before a fire starts.
STEPS TO GETTING SET:
- Create a Wildfire Action Plan that includes evacuation planning for your home, family, and pets.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person in your household.
- Fill out a Family Communication Plan that includes important evacuation and contact information.
- Check your Fire Insurance, and make sure your policy is up to date.
- When wildfire strikes or weather conditions are extreme, use our Evacuation Checklist to prepare for evacuaton before its too late.
When a fire is burning nearby, review these checklists:
These steps should be taken well in advance of the fire when possible:
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (e.g., patio furniture, children's toys, door mats, etc.) or place them in your pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Don't leave sprinklers on or water running - they can waste critical water pressure best reserved for firefighters.
- Leave exterior lights on.
- Back your car into the driveway. Shut doors and roll up windows.
- Have a ladder available. Leave it where firefighters can find it easily.
- Patrol your property and extinguish all small fires until you leave.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals if time permits.
- Place pets in carriers.
- Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove flammable window shades and curtains and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains, close blinds and shutters.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter if you have time. Turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
Learn more at www.firesafemarin.org/preparedness, and watch your email tomorrow for Day 6 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week series. Download a Ready, Set, Go "Action Guide" for more information and checklists.